Todd Vanderah, PhD, Appointed Head of Pharmacology

Dr. Vanderah, who had been serving as interim department head since 2011, has accepted the Pharmacology department head position at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson.

TUCSON, Ariz. – Todd Vanderah, PhD, has accepted the position of head of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson. Dr. Vanderah has been the interim head of the department since 2011.

The department’s mission is to provide quality preclinical and clinical education in pharmacology and therapeutics for medical students, to educate and train graduate and postdoctoral biomedical scientists, to carry oTodd Vanderah, PhDut basic research of recognized excellence and to participate in governance and leadership in the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, the University of Arizona and in appropriate national scientific and professional societies.

“Dr. Vanderah’s proven leadership, excellence in teaching and expertise in pharmacology and research are tremendous assets for the University of Arizona, the College of Medicine and the department. We are thrilled he has accepted the position,” said Steve Goldschmid, MD, dean of the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.

Dr. Vanderah’s research interests include the mechanisms and pharmacology of acute and chronic pain; neuronal integration in pain pathways; neurochemical release during conditions of neuropathy; neuronal plasticity; opioid receptor pharmacology, cancer pharmacology/biology; and novel targets for drug discovery.

He is a professor of pharmacology, anesthesiology, neurology and serves as the nervous system block director at the UA College of Medicine. He also is an adjunct professor at the University of New England, College of Osteopathic Medicine in the department of basic sciences, Biddeford, MA.

He is a representative of the Association of American Medical Colleges and its Council of Faculty and Academic Societies and a member of the Academy of Medical Education Scholars.

Dr. Vanderah’s research drug discoveries, while working with a small pharmaceutical company, include an oxytocin antagonist (FE 200440; “atosiban”) to prevent preterm-birth. The drug is on the market in Europe and currently in clinical trials in the U.S. He also has conducted an investigation of a novel highly selective kappa opioid agonist (FE 200665/FE 200666) for somatic and inflammatory pain. His recent studies have identified the use of a non-euphoric cannabinoid for bone cancer pain that not only inhibits pain, but also reduces bone wasting.

He serves as a faculty mentor for the Undergraduate Biology Research Program and Minority Access to Research Careers at the UA and earned a bachelor in science in molecular and cellular biology and a doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology from the UA.